It’s Turkey Lurkey Time 2014

Because I don’t want to take up everyone’s timeline with what I’m thankful for, I figured I would just do that here.

- I am thankful for my family first and foremost. Duh.

- I am thankful for all of my lovely friends here!!

- I am thankful for my sorority, Alpha Phi. Without Alpha Phi I wouldn’t have some of my best friends in NYC. Without APHI, I wouldn’t be in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving with my friend and sister, Alexis.

- I’m thankful for my UCB community and friends. Improv has brought me so much happiness and has given me my first indie team, Medusa.

- I’m thankful for my NYYR friends. I can only vent my political opinions with them.

- I’m thankful that I now have family in NYC.

- I am very, very thankful for the men and women that serve this great country.

I think this probably covers all that I’m thankful for. Oh, but I’ll be really thankful if Alabama wins this weekend!

Roll Tide,

-R

Top 10 Albums

I’m back y’all! I have two other posts that I’ve been writing, but I figured I’d just start with something cheesy/fun. The whole “post your 10 favorite albums” is going around on Facebook- I’ve yet to be tagged, so I figured I would just post it myself. These aren’t really in any particular order (except the first).

1- Almost Famous- soundtrack
2- Abbey Road- The Beatles
3- Garden State- soundtrack
4- Barton Hollow- The Civil Wars
5- Spring Awakening- Original Broadway Cast
6- The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac
7- Forty Licks- Rolling Stones
8- The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3- Bob Dylan
9- Deja Vu- Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
10- From the Ground Up- John Fullbright

So…clearly I’m a hug fan of classic rock, but I swear I like more recent music- but I just don’t like EVERY song on the album. What are your favorite albums? Comment below!

-R

The Drone Queen: The Return of Homeland Season 4

Ohhhh it’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post. Of course, why not restart by giving my thoughts on the 4th Season of “Homeland”? Stop reading now if you haven’t watched the first episode of Season 4.

***********************************SPOILERS AHEAD*****************************************

Man, where to begin?

“There isn’t even a diagnosis for what’s wrong with you.”

Carrie’s sister just nailed it on the head. The episode opens with Carrie in Kabul, Afghanistan- not in Istanbul, as we were told at the end of Season 3. I would like to immediately point out that she seemed stable. YAY. (But hah, then we see her down some Ambien with white wine. Never change Carrie, never change.) We find out that she’s in Kabul overseeing some drone/bombing program and working with a chief of station- some sketchy guy named Sandy Bachman- in Islamabad, Pakistan. He seems to have some intel on “some guy on a hit list- Haissam Haqqani-“. What that list is… I’m not sure. He gives the okay to Carrie to bomb the area where they assume the bad guy is, but *WAH*! apparently they bombed an area where some civilians were having a wedding. Just a side note: I kinda hate the fact that they made the US look so incredibly bad because they did kill some civilians. That’s going to happen, even Carrie acknowledges this. No one wants it. EVER. (Sorry for sounding heartless. Am I turning into Carrie?) But this is just politics as usual. But we kinda get to the point that we, in the very least, got the bad guy- BUT there’s the nephew of the bad guy, Aayan Ibrahim who survived the bombing. What shall the CIA do? Track that kid down. Poor kid (maybe?) gets trapped in the middle of things when his not so nice roommate from med school posts on the internet an actual video from Aayan’s phone from the wedding. Like I said, gets trapped in the middle. Anyway, we also find out that Quinn (!!!!!!!!!) is back in the game, not in Kabul, but Islamabad, working with the sketchy Sandy. And then our favorite guy, Saul is back. Well, in the private sector in NYC- not the CIA. But we of course still find out that he is still obsessed with all things CIA. Then somehow, we find out that sketchy Sandy has some sort of asset (perhaps ‘X’ in Sandy’s text messages) in Islamabad, and then BOOM, he’s taken away and killed- although Carrie and Quinn try to save him. I feel like there’s some double agent stuff going on here. You never know with “Homeland”. After this second screw up, Senator Lockhart (UGH I HATE HIM) asks Carrie to come home, which freaks her out to no end because she doesn’t want to take care of her kid.

Then…….. Part 2: Trylon and Perisphere.

After many times that Quinn has killed people doing black-ops, he is just torn apart because of this loss of Sandy. He then turns into a Carrie. FO REAL? He downs a bottle of what is probably vodka and sleeps with some rando lady that works at the hotel where he’s staying. Quinn, pick up some of Carrie’s happy drugs- YOU NEED THEM. Unfortunately, I lost a bit of time with this part of the episode due to the fact that my internet kept messing up. Of course, Sen. Lockhart was all, “CARRIE YOU SCREWED UP YOU’RE STAYING IN D.C. FOREVER NOW!!” She’s all, LOL no. She wants to be back in the action; in Islamabad. Then, lets just add in another sketchy guy, Jordan Harris. He also worked in Islamabad but got sent back to D.C. for reasons unknown. Side note: while my internet was down, I questioned, “where is Fara this season???” Anyone? Bueller? Next thing I know I see is Aayan with what looks like some sort of medicines for shots (??) and he asks one of his girl friends- Kiran- to hold on to them while everything that’s going on in his life dies down. Oh, then hey, isn’t it a splendid idea to take your child to see Brody’s old house? We had some close chin quivering action- but not totally. Then the next thing I see is Carrie royally screwing up as a mother and trying to drown her child. GET IT TOGETHER, CARRIE.  [Random thought from this- it reminded me from a moment when she was in “Little Women” and she had some chin quivering when holding a baby that was sick with something- which in turn made her sick. Y’all remember that? Like I said, random thought.] Internet goes down again: Dar Adal is back chatting it up with Saul. I still have this love/hate relationship with him. Carrie does her crazy thing again and stalks down Jordan Harris and it turns out that Lockhart (HATE HIM!!!) had him moved to the “archives” because he knew about some leaks of Sandy being a double agent. Internet down again: Carrie cons her way into going back to Islamabad, because, duh, she can blackmail Lockhart for treason. I wish I had her gumption. And then her sister of course tells Carrie that she is 100% selfish for leaving her kid, Franny.

Soooo….I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the “2 hour” (It wasn’t 2 hours. Such lies.) season opener. But, let’s just be happy that there were no Brodys whatsoever. Especially happy that Dana didn’t show up. Hallelujah.

-R

Katz’s Deli

Today’s post will be on one of my FAVORITE restaurants in all of NYC: Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side. I’m sure right now multiple thoughts are going through your mind, like, 1) That’s just for tourists, whatever. 2) Oh, it’s also overrated. and 3) That pastrami on rye that everyone talks about is $18.45, so that’s outta my range. Let me explain: Sharing is caring. If you haven’t feasted your eyes upon the pastrami on rye in person, let me tell you that the sandwich is HUGE. Every time I go I share a half with a friend. You think you can eat the whole sandwich, but with all of the pile of delicious pastrami on there, it’s really way too hard. Or, if you want, take the other half as a leftover (but who wants soggy bread later??). Also, the sandwich comes with pickles on the side. YUM! Other favorites are the corned beef sandwich, but I prefer the pastrami. Then there’s the matzo ball soup. I’ll be 100% honest and say that I’ve never had it, but people rave about the soup, too. That would only set you back $6.45. Now, while you share your sandwich, perhaps you will pick up a cream soda as well. Classic.

Famous people from all over come here to experience the amazing sandwich (photos of them posted all around the restaurant), and you should too. Of course, Anthony Bourdain is a fan (check it out on his show No Reservations in the episode “Disappearing Manhattan”. Oh, and then there’s the obligatory “When Harry Met Sally” sign.

There it is. I just wrote about the most cliché, most written about deli in the US, but it’s worth it.

The best way of getting there is taking the F train and getting off at the 2nd Ave. stop and exiting the stairs that say Houston St., Allen St. and you’ll see Katz’s right there. For more info, click this link—-> Katz’s Deli.

-Rachel

The famous pastrami on rye.

The famous pastrami on rye.

Never Forget

I recount what happened 13 years ago today:

13 years ago, I was sitting in my history class room with Mrs. Empey in my brand new school. It was a Catholic school and I was not Catholic and I had barely even been there. Shortly into the morning we hear an announcement over our speaker telling us to turn on the tv. The first plane had already hit the north tower. Being in 6th grade most of us were confused and didn’t know what to think of it. Not too much longer we saw the second plane hit the south tower. Most of the day was an absolute blur. At some point we all took out our rosaries and started to pray. Throughout the day people left the class. Our teacher tried to explain to our class about the history about the countries where the jihadits were from. None of us really cared at the time. Time stopped. I get home that afternoon and the tv was on for the rest of the day. After a day of chaos I finally learned of what happend. I didn’t understand as to why people wanted to harm us. We are America, the land of the free! From that day on, I have never have felt safe flying planes. If anyone knows me well I hate beyond anything else flying planes. Yes, it’s been 13 years, but those memories are burnt into my mind always reminding me of what happened that day. Every year this date comes along I usually watch a memorial on tv. There hasn’t been a 9/11 when I haven’t cried. I feel like it just happened yesterday. Also, let us not forget about Benghazi on 9/11/2012. Justice has not been brought to these victims.

I’ve been reading this amazing book called, “The Art of Intelligence- Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service” by Henry A. Crumpton, and there’s this one part of the book where he was briefing President Bush on what the CIA planned to do in Afghanistan, and I just wanted to share this quote with you:

After the meeting, President Bush walked George and me out to the SUV. George was a couple of paces ahead. The president briefly placed his hand on my back and quietly said, “Go get ‘em.”

“Yes, sir.”

This simple gesture and comment was for me the most important and most memorable part of the meeting. The president of the United States had given me a direct, clear command in a private personal way. It was, in some manner, unreal. That gesture was more than any operations officer could want or need or deserve. I felt privileged, humbled, and fiercely determined.

May God bless all of the families who lost lives on this day 13 years ago. We will NEVER forget.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Well, it has been quite some time since I’ve written a post! Back to doing some improv (classes and with my team) and some BG work. And then somehow… I decided to get back into my ancestry account. I think what started it was an email that I received about being related to someone via the DNA test that I took (we weren’t related). Something that has been super hard to look up is the last name Jones. JONES. One of the most common last names. Rumor in my family was that whenever the Jones family came over to the states, they had a different last name and changed it to Jones. Well, turns out that that is not true whatsoever. After writing down my great grandfather’s name, which happened to be the THIRD- so imagine looking up the same name over and over and trying to get different results. Finally, I got some results! I was able to track the Jones family all the way back to England, and of course, the last name was still Jones. BOOM. Apparently they resided in Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire, England. How fancy does that sound?? Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any fancy or fun fact about the family except that once they did get to America they fought in the Revolution. OH- and then somewhere down in the Jones line- I think my great, great, great grandfather- has a Freemasons symbol on his grave. And that grave is in one of the many cemeteries in the Smoky Mountain National Park. I also found out that my family literally just lived in the south (except for a few that were in Philly for a short time. Yanks.): Virginia, N. and S. Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and then on to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. Sadly, none of them lived in Alabama. But anyway, this has been such a ride doing some ancestry work. Another side note- I may be very distantly related to a friend that I went to Alabama with! It’s very, very far back, but you never know. 

Now I’m just looking forward to my family coming into town at the end of September. Hopefully we’ll have nice weather by then. Why are we getting this horrible heat wave at the beginning of September?!? Guess it was just make up for not having a super hot summer. 

-R 

O Captain! My Captain!

I write this post with such a heavy heart. Of course, this will probably be the billionth blog/post/whatever on the passing of Robin Williams, but I think it’s something that I must comment on. When I found out the news of him passing, it was really right before one of my improv performances- talk about timing. I had to go back and think to myself, “What performance/movie/show really stood out to me?”, because I wasn’t a person who had him on a list of favorite actors. Of course, growing up I loved “Mrs. Doubtfire”; Aladdin is one of the very few Disney movies that I like- and I think it’s because of his portrayal of the Genie. (Yeah, I really don’t like Disney. Sue me.) But then I remembered one of my favorite movies (and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t put it in my favorite movie lists that I made), “Dead Poets Society”. I can’t remember when I first saw it, but it was such a prolific film to me. This film made me appreciate poetry and prose, and life! I remember my sophomore year in my theology class (of all classes), my teacher said a few lines from Thoreau’s “Walden”, and asked if anyone knew who wrote those lines. I knew. I said it was Thoreau, and he seemed to be impressed. Thank you, Mr. Keating. I want to also add this article from Acculturated on how “Dead Poets Society” changed the author’s life. It’s a little bit more prosaic than my blog post, and I can agree with the article 100%.

Another movie that I really enjoyed him in was “August Rush”. It’s so underrated! Perhaps I’m one of the few who appreciates Mr. Williams’ performances in dramas. I mean, how amazing is this quote? 

“You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars.”

Granted, his character wasn’t very favorable, but it was still a really good film. He really put his heart and soul into it. 

I hate to even admit this, but there are a few films of his that I haven’t seen that are noted as some of his best work. I won’t name those, though. Perhaps it’s time to put a few of those movies in my Netflix queue. 

I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes from any movie I’ve ever seen. Cliché, perhaps. But I don’t care. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veYR3ZC9wMQ

Carpe diem, seize the day…

-R

Gen. Y and Our Obsession With Nostalgia

I write this post after watching the first episode of Girl Meets World, because I missed the premiere and I was feeling a little bit nostalgic. Well, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news: it’s not Boy Meets World. What we hoped for is not there. I may be stating the obvious, but it’s so Disney, which means extra cheesy. In the 90’s we saw humor (but not so cheesy) and episodes filled with life lessons via Mr. Feeny. Fee hee hee Heeny! But who will replace him!? Cory, of course. And who is his student? His one and only daughter Riley, playing the “Cory” of Girl Meets World. To me, it seems off. Of course it is always great to get advice from your parents, but there’s no element of the Cory and Mr. Feeny relationship. Also, the “Shawn” of the series is a girl called Maya- who is really unrealistic to be the “Shawn” of this series. Yeah, he was the trouble maker, but I can’t take Maya as the trouble maker. Of course they incorporated a Minkus, with this waaayyy too over the top character named Farkle- nerdy, but ALL OVER THE PLACE.

And I hate to even point this out, but the even more unrealistic part of this is a family living in an amazing SoHo apartment while the kids attend a public school. I may still be out of the loop when it comes to schools in NYC, but I figure if you have a nice large apartment in SoHo, you’d be in a top notch prep school. I guess at this point I’m just being picky.

You can tell that the directors, writers, and producers were shooting to at least win over the Gen. Y-ers that grew up with Boy Meets World, but I think it was a miss. Though I think it hits right in the age group of the pre-teens who probably aren’t really familiar with Boy Meets World. Disney missed the maybe happy medium between appealing to the pre-teen crowd while also appealing to those who grew up loving Cory and the gang. I really, really wanted to like it. The 90’s were great, and I think that’s what we wanted- nostalgia of our childhood. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hit the mark. Perhaps, maybe, we should be careful for what we wish for.

-R

Favorite Movies: Part 2

Y’all, I haven’t posted anything in a very, very long time. Things have been very busy on my end. After working on Boardwalk Empire, I worked on this way, way awesome pilot for HBO that I have to keep under wraps. Let’s just say I worked with a legendary director that I could have only dreamed about. No, it’s not Tarantino, but it’s someone who has a BIG name. Then I went home and had a great time in Dallas eating my way through some Tex-Mex, my favorite sushi place, and of course, In- N- Out. SO, since I don’t have a lot up my sleeve now, I just decided I’ll write my favorite movies that are 11-20. Told ya I’d come back for that!

11- The Graduate (Mike Nichols): “And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson”… Y’all, I can’t believe I left that out of my top 10. I don’t think there’s need for a description. If you haven’t seen it, YOU’RE CRAZY AND HAVE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK. Go rent it now! It’s a classic.

12- Gone With the Wind (Victor Flemming and others): “No, I don’t think I’ll kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how.” Weren’t expecting that quote, were you? Also, I’ve you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, rent it. But I’d say take a Saturday that you don’t mind staying in because this is a long movie. I mean, 3 hours long. But it’s so worth it.

13- Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino): “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” You know you’ve heard this quote. This is a classic good girl falls for a bad boy who can DANCE like no one’s business. Also, there’s a follow up movie called Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Yeah, it didn’t have spectacular reviews, but I really liked it. Not top 20 worthy, but it’s still a good watch.

14- Kill Bill Volumes 1 &2 (Quentin Tarantino): I figured I’d just put 1 and 2 together because although they’re different, it’s still the same story line. Since I’m not too good at descriptions, I’m going to take one from IMDB. “The lead character, called ‘The Bride’ (played by Uma Thurman)  was a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, led by her lover, ‘Bill’. Upon realizing she was pregnant with Bill’s child, ‘The Bride’ decided to escape her life as a killer. She fled to Texas, met a young man, who, on the day of their wedding rehearsal was gunned down by an angry and jealous Bill (with the assistance of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad). Four years later, ‘The Bride’ wakes from a coma, and discovers her baby is gone. She, then, decides to seek revenge upon the five people who destroyed her life and killed her baby. The saga of Kill Bill Volume 1 begins.” See, that was a GREAT description. I haven’t watched it in some time, but I think this is like Pulp Fiction, where the story line jumps around.

15- When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner): This is the movie that states that men and women can never be just friends (Harry and Sally). To be honest, I really think there are some exceptions to the rule. This is a classic NYC movie and a cute rom-com if you’re in the mood. I’d say that you could even get a guy to watch this.

16- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman): Ahhhh Jack Nicholson in his early years. Essentially this movie is about Jack Nicholson’s character that has a criminal past and decides that going to a mental asylum would be waaayyyy better than hanging around a prison. Sounds great, right? Heh. You have to watch just to see what happens. Also, there’s this EVIL Nurse Ratched. Such a classic.

17- La Vie En Rose (Olivier Dahan):  Everyone knows I’m a sucker for any French film, but this one is a film that even if you don’t like French films, you can enjoy this. I promise. Marion Cotillard (a favorite actress of mine) portrays the crazy life of French singer, Edith Piaf. She goes from a very poor life to one that throws her into the spotlight. Obviously, you’ll recognize the song “La Vie En Rose”. Also, if you expected for me to put Amélie in my top 20 movies, you’re wrong. I’m a bizarre person who doesn’t like that film. Sorry, not sorry.

18- À la folie… pas du tout [He Loves Me…He Loves Me Not] (Laetitia Colombani): Hey look! A film with Audrey Tatou! I may not care for Amélie, but I really enjoy this French film. Just thinking about this movie now, it kinda reminds me of the very famous novel right now, Gone Girl. The film starts out with the character Angélique (Audrey Tatou) and her relationship with her boyfriend. Once you get mid-way, you start to see his perspective of the relationship. See! Gone Girl! If you’re a fan of the book, I really recommend this movie. I’m pretty sure it’s on Netflix.

19-  Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino): “You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?… They call it a Royale with cheese.” Y’all, I can’t believe I almost left this off of my list. I had to go back to my 1-10 to make sure I already had it on there, but I didn’t!! When you think of Tarantino, most people think of this film specifically. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s so hard for me to take John Travolta seriously in this film. I mean, I can, but it’s just weird seeing him playing this… hit man character. The film itself is not in linear order. This means you have to be paying attention.

20- The Sound of Music (Robert Wise): Okay, I really don’t think I have to put a description for this one. This is another that if you haven’t seen it, YOU’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK! I mean, don’t they always show this movie in school? I watched it at least 2 times.

Alrighty, that’s all I got time for.

-R

DCM and Boardwalk Empire

Three of the original UCB- Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser.

Three of the original UCB- Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Besser.

Well, here’s the post I was going to write last time. I am still sad about the loss of my favorite teacher, Mr. Post. His memorial mass was today, and I wish I could have been there for it. He is going to be missed, like none other.

Anyway, I want to look on the bright side of life! I recently got to be a apart of the Del Close Marathon (which is associated with The Upright Citizens Brigade) and took many, many workshops. Some were great, some were meh. The one that blew my mind (and rightly so) was with Matt Besser (one of the founders of UCB). I’ll start off that it’s kinda weird sitting in front of someone who is kinda put up on a pedestal. I’m still new to this who improv thing, but of course Matt is kind of a big deal. Anyway, turns out the people in my class are pretty much a let down because even though we read the UCB book, we weren’t as familiar with it as Besser was- obviously. I also think he was disappointed that the majority of us didn’t bring the book. To those who brought it, he asked them to, “open up your hymnal to page 244″. That was perhaps the only humor we got from him. So, even though he probably thought that the school that he started was probably going down the drain since we hadn’t thoroughly read the book, I’m sure he thought that we were good students. Maybe. Oh, he also plugged his podcast (it’s free!) Improv4humans almost every 5 minutes. (JK. But it was often. It’s good, y’all!) Something that we learned, and what I’ve heard many times before, is DON’T EVER SUGGEST ANY FOOD FOR A SUGGESTION. Someone threw out the word mango (I think) and Besser was like, “NO FOODS!!!!!!!!” I can understand that because for the most part; people probably don’t have stories associated with foods. The second part that was absolutely the cherry topper to DCM was going to both ASSSSCAT shows. I am so very glad that I bought tickets for both, because Amy Poehler (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was only performing in the first one. In case you didn’t know, even though I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, Amy Poehler was also one of the founders of UCB. Y’all, I had a heart attack. To see one of my favorite comedians live in person made my night. My life! She’s just hilarious in person. Also, another favorite of mine, Horatio Sanz performed with the UCB- for both shows. That guy… he’s a character. I won’t go into full detail as to why, but if you are dying to know why I think he’s a “character”, feel free to message me, or something.

Second part to the post: BOARDWALK EMPIRE! I kinda wanted to keep it on the down low, but I guess the cat’s out of the bag. I won’t give away too many details, but all I can say is that there are flashbacks in the final season and that I had to wear a corset and wanted to die every time. I made new friends and re-connected with old ones, which made working every day great.

Next on the agenda: working on a Scorsese pilot. Basically, I know as much about it as anyone else does that can google “Scorsese new rock n’ roll pilot”. I’m sure it will be great because not only is he attached to it, Mick Jagger is too. I’m guessing that if this is picked up, it will take the place of Boardwalk Empire.

That’s all I’ve got for now! My improv team- Medusa- has a show tomorrow night and I’m pretty excited.

Night

-R